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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Steep Decline Of Disillusioned 2008 Obama Youth Voters Is Profound Loss To Democratic Party

By Susan Duclos

"I think you'll be able to imagine many things Senator McCain will be able to say. He's never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."--- Hillary Clinton 2008- (Source- CBS News)

The nonpartisan, independent Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), in an analysis of current voter registration data in the key electoral states of Nevada and North Carolina, found what they term as a "profound loss of the registration advantage Democrats held during the 2008 election cycle."

That loss was shown to be a steep decline of youth voters, which two-thirds of predominantly registered and turned out to support Barack Obama in 2008.

•North Carolina — Between November 2008 and November 2011, North Carolina saw a net gain of 93,709 in the number of overall, new registrations. However, youth registrants (ages 18-25) lost a net of 48,500 new registrations, while older adults (ages 26 and over) gained over 142,000 registrants. Of the 48,500 net loss in youth registrants, 80.4% were lost among registered Democrats, a net loss of 39,049 young Democratic registrants.

•Nevada — Nevada’s registration rolls have shrunk by a net of 117,109 people since the 2008 election, of whom 50,912 (or 43% of the decline) are between the ages of 18-24. The significant challenge for Democratic candidates in Nevada in 2012, including the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, is not the ratio of Democrats to Republicans among Nevada youth, since Democratic young people still outnumber Republican young people on the registration rolls by 45,222 to 25,182. However, the potentially, negative electoral impact for the re-election campaign of President Obama is due to the decline in the youth share of all registrants — youth were 11% of Nevada’s registered voters in 2008 election but just 7.85% in October 2011. Given the overwhelming support young voters showed President Obama’s 2008 campaign, with nearly two-thirds of young voters casting their ballot for Obama, this drop in the share of the electorate comprised of young voters could prove a major difficulty to the 2012 re-election campaign for President Obama in Nevada.

This is representative of what is being seen across the nation and shouldn't be a huge surprise since polling has shown this pattern of disillusionment from youth voters for a while now.

Back in June, The Hill reported that a plurality of youth voters disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy by a 44 percent to 31 percent margin and 61 percent said they would "place higher priority on a candidate’s position on issues and record in office, rather than charisma and likability when they cast their vote for president next year."

Young voters just becoming politically active are often taken in by "hope and change" rhetoric, feel good speeches, and unrealistic and impossible campaign promises, but hopefully the youth voters from 2008 learned a valuable lesson about the importance of experience and voting records.